Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Homecoming



This past Sunday was Homecoming at Calvary Baptist, the church I grew up in as did my Mother before me.  My Mother and her parents were charter members so my roots are deep.   It is the church where I first learned about Jesus, went to Vacation Bible School, and learned about missions. 
 
Homecoming is a day set aside, usually in the spring or fall, where families and past members come back to their home church for a special church service and a covered dish lunch.  There is also usually a special offering taken for cemetery upkeep that day as well.  It is a reunion of families and friends. 

At Calvary, it is also Decoration Day so we place flowers on the graves of my grandparents, aunt, and cousin who are buried there and we visit with other families who’ve come to place flowers.  Usually, my cousin and I walk around the cemetery remembering those precious souls who’ve passed on:  Lee and Maytle Jones, Albert and Jeanette Baldwin, Wilbur and Millie Jones, Dovie Crane, Bill and Britt Nethery, and Charles Walker.  They taught us in Sunday School and Training Union but most importantly, they loved us. 

It’s always so good to see old friends, many of whom I've known since we were small children.    Some are still at Calvary but most of us go to other churches or live too far away to come to church there regularly.  But most try to make it back every year for Homecoming.  Other than funerals, this is usually the only time we see each other nowadays. 

There’s always a covered dish lunch afterwards but since our family is scattered now, we opt to do a mini-family reunion at my cousin's house instead.  There’s always plenty of food, fun, good conversation, fried chicken, and banana pudding.  Nowadays though, we have store bought fried chicken.  My Mother’s fried chicken is just a fond memory.  But the banana pudding?  There's always a huge bowl of it on the table.  No other dessert is needed or wanted.

Mom’s Fried Chicken
Chicken pieces, bone in
Buttermilk
Flour
Salt
Pepper
Oil

Soak chicken in buttermilk overnight.  Add a little salt if you think about it.  Heat 1-1 1/2: of oil in skillet.  Mix flour, salt, and pepper.  Coat chicken in flour mixture.  Drop a little water in hot oil to see if it's hot enough before adding chicken.  If it pops, it's hot enough.   
Put chicken in skillet with bone facing up.  Put lid on skillet and cook chicken until done.  Turn over when browned and leave lid off to finish cooking. 
If cooking a whole chicken, cook breasts first.
(Note:  these instructions were given to me during a lesson on frying chicken)

Aunt Carolyn’s Banana Pudding
1 big box Jello Vanilla Instant Pudding
3 cups milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
dash vanilla
1 large bowl Cool Whip
Vanilla Wafers
Bananas

Mix pudding and milk together until slightly thick. Add sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and Cool Whip. In a bowl, layer wafers, bananas, and pudding in that order. Top with vanilla wafers.

As long as you have fried chicken, banana pudding,  and a big jug of iced sweet tea on the table, you don’t really need anything else.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mattie Lou's Gloves

Mattie Lou is my Grandmother's first cousin so I think that would make her my third cousin. At age 91, Mattie Lou is the last surviving member of her generation.  And talking to her reminds me of talking to my Grandmother and Great-Aunt Flora.  Mattie Lou drives, cuts a couple acres of grass, and works hard in her yard. And she's been fixing up her niece's house to rent or sell.

My cousin Cheryel has given my Dad copies of old family photos.  The only problem is that we sometimes can't identify everyone so Daddy has copies made and sends them to Mattie Lou.  Since Mattie Lou has been so wonderful with her photo identifications and stories, I thought I'd make her a pair of fingerless mitts to wear while working outdoors.  She said her favorite color is purple.  Here they are:


 
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a really good picture before shipping them off to Mattie Lou.  The color is a beautiful deep purple called Petunia.  The yarn is Berroco Vintage and the pattern is one of my all time favorites, Welted Fingerless Gloves by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas.  I think this yarn has now become one of my favorite yarns for this pattern.  It knits up with crisp stitch definition and just knits up beautifully for this pattern.  And it's easy care to boot. 

Happily, Mattie Lou reports that she just loves them. 

Happy knitting!





Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Day in Alabama


We're having a rare snow day here in middle Alabama and everyone is so excited!


Hard to believe we had 5 inches!

We have to enjoy it while we can because by nightfall, most of it will be gone except in the shady areas and higher elevations. 


I got to try out my new boots in the snow too!  I bought them on deep discount last year and have been looking forward to wearing them.  I'm happy to report they wore beautifully.

And here's one more photo taken at first light.


Happy Knitting everyone!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday Dessert - A Recipe

Every weekend, I make a dessert for Sunday dinner.  Sometimes, I try a new recipe but most times, it's just an old family favorite.  I thought I'd start occasionally sharing those recipes with you.
Here's what I made this morning:



Mom's Buttermilk Pie
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pie crust

Mix all ingredients thoroughly by hand.  Pour into pie crust and place in the lower section of the oven on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

This is a classic Southern recipe and although it has buttermilk in it, you can't taste it at all.  This was my Mother's recipe.

If you try it, let me know.  I'd love to hear from you!


Monday, January 20, 2014

The Stash

The stash.  Every knitter has one.  It starts out innocently enough but then grows.  And grows.  It's all those leftover balls of yarn from projects, and yarn that you bought for something in particular but then you either don't get around to knitting it or the yarn just doesn't work out for the pattern.  And it's that yarn that was on sale and well, you could use it for something.  And then there are the pretties that just jump in your basket at the yarn shop.

Back in the summer, my stash was threatening to take over.  Part of it was in bins, all tucked away nice and neat.  But the rest of it looked like this. 


Bags of yarn, stashed here and there around the house.  I decided that it was time to not just get things under control but to enter my stash into Ravelry.  But before I could get even halfway through, I was distracted.  Well, more like overwhelmed what with all the picture taking and entering of each skein.  And then Thanksgiving weekend, I became determined to finish and by doing small bits almost day, I had it finished by the end of the year.  I'm proud to say it now all looks like this:


Before I started this project, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what was in the stash but I quickly found out that I was wrong.  Way wrong.  I found some surprises along the way like that second skein of Cascade 220 in black that I didn't know that I had (I was wanting to make a hat) along with some other happy finds.  And I found some surprises that can only be described as "what was I thinking???"

I'm so glad that I finally took the time to organize my stash into Ravelry.  A few weeks ago, I wanted to make Churchmouse Yarns' Walking Rib Cowl.  I consulted the pattern and since I didn't have the called for Rowan Felted Tweed Aran, I did a quick search of my stash in Ravelry and there it was, a suitable substitute, Berroco Blackstone Tweed.  I pulled it out of the bin and was soon on my way to a new cowl.

I  have to confess that I still have a basket of Peaches and Crème to enter into Ravelry.  But that will have to be another day.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Blanket of the Ages


 
After months of knitting and tracking down Noro #269, My Mitered Crosses Blanket aka The Blanket of the Ages aka THE Blanket is finished. 
 
Here it is with one of my Dad's tractors.  I was getting ready to do photos on Sunday when he suggested that we do like Elizabeth does and hang it on the barn but only if I'd take a picture of the blanket with one of his tractors!  So, Dad, here you are......
 
The squares have been finished since the middle of May but it has taken me all summer to get it sewn up and the border on.  
 
As always with any blanket, I leaned a lot.  My friend, Martha, and I did a private lesson in seaming back at the first of June.  I sort of thought I knew how to seam but wanted to learn the proper way.  And I had read about applied I-cord binding, which for some reason, I thought it would be hard.  As with a lot of things in knitting, if I somehow have the idea that it will be hard, it isn't.  Applied I-cord, in my opinion, is not hard, just fiddly.
 
I have to tell you though that while I was seaming this, I got to thinking that 24 squares wasn't exactly one of my better ideas.  But really the seaming wasn't too bad after I got into the rhythm.  But then while I was doing the border, with the A/C turned down to accommodate the blanket in my lap, 24 squares was perfect again.  And as Martha pointed out when she saw the photo, those extra squares were worth it.  And she is right.
 
When finishing a blanket, at least for me, I look at the finished piece and I see much, much more than just a blanket and lots of garter stitch.  There's a trip to Kentucky to see the fellas and Walker kindly posing for a photo holding a square, knitting at lunch with Martha, knitting in the ER with my Mom (once she and Daddy got so bored they wound yarn for me!), knitting in the hospital with my Mom.  And then my Mom's last days when the I couldn't seem to pick up the correct number of stitches, so I put it down but having it there with me was a comfort.  And afterwards, the endless rows of garter stitch became comforting.  There's also lots of laughter while visiting with family and friends.
 
Someone asked if I'd do this again.  And I would.  I think I'd like to try it in a different yarn and maybe a different weight (fingering weight anyone?) and I'd like to do one without changing colors in the miter.  But I think I'll wait a bit before I start another one.